Many people know about the EPA’s EnergyStar certification, which is a third-party certification system that verifies manufacturers’ claims about the energy efficiency of home appliances. The EnergyStar label has helped hundreds of thousands of consumers choose high-efficiency, cost-effective appliances for their homes.
The EPA has also developed a certification for plumbing fixtures, called WaterSense. WaterSense labels can be found on a variety of products, including:
- Bathroom sink faucets and accessories
While there are specific guidelines for each category of plumbing fixture, in general, the WaterSense label indicates that the product is at least 20% more efficient than conventional products in its category, without sacrificing performance or comfort.
The goal of the WaterSense guidelines is to make a real difference in the amount of water consumed in the U.S. – and the numbers bear this out. Let’s take a look at what would happen if every household in the US installed WaterSense products in their bathrooms.
If every household in the U.S. installed WaterSense bathroom sink faucets, it would save 60 billion gallons of water and $600 million in water heating costs. If every U.S. household put in WaterSense showerheads, the US would use 250 fewer billion gallons of water annually and save $2.5 billion in water heating costs. And if every household in the US upgraded to a new, efficient WaterSense toilet, it would save 640 billion gallons of water a year.
More realistically, even if only 1 in 10 U.S. households upgraded to WaterSense products, we would save about 74 billion gallons of water a year and $1.5 billion on our water heating bills.
Like EPA EnergyStar products, WaterSense products can be found at most plumbing retailers.
The WaterSense label can also be applied to entire homes. Homes that have the WaterSense label have:
- Efficient hot water systems that deliver hot water quickly to minimize waste and waiting
- WaterSense plumbing fixtures
- EnergyStar dishwashers and clothes washers
- Regionally appropriate outdoor landscaping that requires minimal maintenance and watering
In addition, landscaping professionals can apply for WaterSense certification to show that they have training in water-efficient irrigation system design, installation, maintenance, and auditing.